Indianapolis Colts

Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium | Coach: Chuck Pagano
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense31st101.6 (21st)184.6 (29th)
Defense30th124.4 (28th)257.1 (30th)

Transition underway with Colts

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Strategy And Personnel · Transition underway with Colts · Notes, Quotes

It was a quiet change, done without fanfare, but things are different in the war room of the Colts.

Bill Polian has been with the Colts since 1998 and has been front and center in the organization. Little by little, his son Chris has been taking over the personnel operations, and that became more pronounced this year.

It even led to a bit of parrying between father and son at the post-draft press conference.

The question posed was, "Did the draft-room dynamic change; Bill taking a step back, Chris taking a step forward? Would it be wrong to say, 'Chris, this is your first draft?'"

Bill Polian said, "That's not wrong."

Of course, Chris Polian said, "That's not right. That's where I would disagree with you. It's everybody's draft. Everybody worked on it."

When it was asked who led the draft, Chris Polian was deferential again, saying, "We all do. It's hokey, but it's a collaborative process."

Still, pressing on, the next question was, "Is it safe to say the dynamic has changed?"

Finally, Bill Polian said, "The dynamic has changed; there is no two ways about that. Chris set the parameters. He did the study that gave us the road map as to where we needed to go. We stayed with that. Your interest, I know, is what happens in the room. Nothing much has changed there.

"Any one of us can bring up a point. Any one of us can mention a priority. We don't make a choice that we don't all agree on. That even goes to setting the (draft) board.

"But it's fair to say that the dynamic has changed pretty dramatically because Chris sets the parameters by which you set the board up, and that's the big thing."

In February, owner Jim Irsay changed Bill Polian's title from president to vice chairman. Chris Polian's responsibilities increased as did those of director of player personnel Tom Telesco.

Irsay said then, "From an outside eye, it probably won't be noticeable. He's not taking a consultant role. Bill's not clearing out his office."

Not yet, anyway. But the handoff from father to son is underway.

--The Colts went into the first round of the National Football League draft with the hopes of adding a potential starter at left offensive tackle.

Indianapolis got its wish with the selection of former Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo with the 22nd overall pick. Castonzo was rated as one of the top four prospects at the position, along with Southern Cal's Tyron Smith, Colorado's Nate Solder and Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi.

When Smith went to Dallas with the ninth overall spot and Solder was selected by New England at No. 17, the Colts were in prime position to take the athletic 6-7, 311-pound offensive lineman.

"We didn't think he'd be there," team vice chairman Bill Polian admitted. "He was the highest rated offensive tackle we had on our board."

Castonzo grew up in the Chicago area and attended Lake Zurich High School, where he wasn't highly recruited as a senior. But after a year of additional seasoning at Fort Union Military Academy in Virginia, he was snatched up by Boston College where he wound up being a four-year starter.

"He's a tall guy and was an outstanding student," the senior Polian said. "(Drafting Castonzo) was something that you hope for. (Colts vice president and general manager) Chris (Polian) and (director of player development) Tom (Telesco) and I had all seen him play in person. We had lots and lots of exposure.

"We spent the last four days (before the draft) working up scenarios and we never considered that (Castonzo) would be available.

The newest Colts offensive lineman was ecstatic by the selection by Indianapolis.

"I am excited. This is unbelievable. I didn't know where I would end up at, but I'm excited about it," Castonzo said. "I get to block for the best quarterback in the league. (I) get to go to a great team already, which is unbelievable. So I am very excited.

"I am up for the task. I know that they're going to expect a lot of me and I expect to be able to do it. I'm going to have to learn a lot I'm sure. But I'd love to be able to start."

With the addition of Castonzo to the roster, Indianapolis is in a position to move incumbent left offensive tackle starter Charlie Johnson to another position. Johnson could move inside to offensive guard or battle starter Ryan Diem at right offensive tackle.

"Other positions (on the offensive line) will have to work itself out. But (drafting Castonzo) will stop some of the musical chairs that we've been forced to do," Chris Polian said.

"We were very fortunate and very happy to be in position (to take the offensive lineman). He was the best player available when we drafted. We had two offensive tackles rated on the same line (on the Colts' draft board) and he was still there. With three or four picks (left), we knew that we were going to get a very good player."

Indianapolis has five more picks in the remaining two days of the draft, including two selections (No. 53 in the second round and No. 87 in the third round) Friday evening.

"We're looking for improvement all across the board and this is a great start," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said of the addition of Castonzo.

--After a second-round exchange of draft picks with Washington that allowed the Indianapolis Colts to move up in the second round, the defending AFC South champions wound up with just five selections overall.

The Colts, however, made the best of it, adding two offensive linemen, a defensive tackle, a running back and a cornerback.

Said club president Bill Polian, "As long as we get guys that contribute to this football team, then it's a success. We always feel good (after the draft). But I think that the guys that we have brought in here (during the draft) are going to make a difference.

"And, unquestionably, we will sign some collegiate free agents that will make a difference. There are still jobs open on this team. And there are players that we believe unequivocally can come in here and make this team that we'll be talking to whenever it's appropriate."

The Colts went into the draft with specific goals in mind. Those bench marks were reached.

"As we sit here right now, in a very muddled situation concerning football and roster building, we all feel really good about where we are," Polian said.


Offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo: When the draft got underway, the Colts didn't believe they'd have a chance to select the Boston College offensive lineman. When it came to the 22nd pick overall, Indianapolis was in prime position to get the player that they coveted. "He's in at left tackle," vice president Chris Polian said. "That's where he's played (in college). He's played it well, successfully, and we feel confident about him being able to come in and help us at that position."


Defensive tackle Drake Nevis: The coaches like his potential to be a disrupter inside. Nevis caught the eye of Indianapolis coaches and player personnel staffers. "He's one of those guys where you look at the tape and you say, 'This is a Colt,'" Bill Polian said. "(He) plays exactly the way our tackles play. Tough and quick with consistent gap penetration." Coach Jim Caldwell liked the pick. "Quickness, explosion, twitch. Those things you don't teach," Caldwell said.

A closer look aty the Colts' picks

Round 1/22 -- Anthony Castonzo, OT, 6-7, 305, Boston College

Big athletic left tackle prospect who will be given every possible chance to win a starting job. Could become Indy's eventual long-term successor to former Pro Bowler Tarik Glenn, who retired after the 2006 season.

Round 2/49 -- Ben Ijalana, T/G, 6-4, 317, Villanova.

A left tackle in college who could end up playing right offensive tackle or be moved inside to offensive guard. Colts had him graded as a potential first-round prospect.

Round 3/87. -- Drake Nevis, DT, 6-1, 294, Louisiana State

Undersized but should fit right in with the Colts. Indianapolis coaches and scouts like smaller, quicker defensive tackles with athletic skills. He fits that mold.

Round 4/119 -- Delone Carter, RB, 5-8, 225, Syracuse

A between-the-tackles runner who needs to become more consistent as a pass receiver and pass blocker. A pounder who should be able to move the pile in short-yardage situations.

Round 6/188 -- Chris Rucker, CB, 6-2, 200, Michigan State

Big defensive back who could contend for work in the Colts' nickel and dime defensive packages.

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